Conflicts of Interest

Would you vote for these people? 

With election season approaching, it is time to address an ongoing problem that has exploded here locally, conflict of interest by public and elected officials. Certainly on a national level it makes the news almost daily causing most voters to reel back in total disgust. But what happens to our moral standards when we know the candidate as a friend or associate? Is our moral judgment compromised? 

Clearly Minnesota statutes address this issue of conflict as not allowable, but how is a violation dealt with? The correct way would be to report the violation to the State Attorney General, who would have staff rewrite the complaint and present it in proper form back to the County Attorney for his/her discretion on the need to prosecute. Just the nature of the process gives the County Attorney pause to contemplate. Who will be offended if he moves forward?  Is the offender of the same political persuasion? In the case of a county attorney, if the offender is a County commissioner, will my budget get cut?  As you can see, the path to punishment of offenders is almost inaccessible.

  •  Consider Commissioner Tinquist as a county board member voting to give county funding to the City of Cohasset while he remains Cohasset’s Fire Chief, Conflict?
  • Bills are being paid monthly to a business Commissioner Eichorn has substantial interest in. Charges from the Sheriff’s office, paid on the County Consent Agenda.  Did you know this?
  • Through the years the county has had money in the bank that County Attorney Muhar has a substantial business interest, conflict?
  • The city of Grand Rapids has had huge amounts of City money in both banks that Council member Zabinski is an officer and director and also the bank employing Council member Chandler.
  • Mayor Adams recently made his golfing partner agent of record on the City’s health insurance policy whereby moving the agent’s commissions from the selling representative to his golf partner. Is it right his wife is employed by the same bank that holds much of the City’s reserves?
  • Catherine Mclynn I would think has her own set of conflicts every time a funding issue is raised with the Sheriff’s office as her children are tightly tied to that office.
  • The City Administrator who now is a Director of the League of Minnesota City’s, (an insurance provider to the City), was recommended for employment by Springstead Incorporated. Springstead is a major sponsor of the League of Minnesota Cities and was  hired to do the recently completed City’s wage study. Springstead is also the City’s bonding company, when bonding or loans are being arranged for City projects. Conflict? Another major League sponsor is Short Elliot and Hendrickson Inc. also known as S.E.H. With Mr. Gillen, Grand Rapids City Administrator and now a Director of the League of Minnesota Cities, is he acting in your best interest or his?
  • Pay attention to the Public Works Director’s family members driving numerous vehicles with local dealer license plates, is this because his department rents several vehicles from the dealership that employs his son? 


These conflicts appear to be all around us and consuming public money. You as a citizen must call attention to it when you see it. Tell the public officials you don’t approve of it and above all do not reelect these people!


What other fees come along with being part of the City of Grand Rapids? Food for thought….

What you pay beyond City Property Tax Partial list: 1.  PILOT PAYMENT    (Payment In Lieu of Tax on electric bill) 2.  STORM WATER SEWER Tax  (comes on your PU bill goes to the city) 3.  BUILDING PERMITS  (almost any building project including a faucet change) 4.  ADMINISTRATIVE TRAFFIC TICKETS (tickets circumventing normal tickets) 5.  CABLE COMMISSION FEE (increased after last election as election payback to ICTV) 6.  ANIMAL LICENSE   (Dogs Cats Chickens) 7.  BICYCLE LICENSE 8.  PARKING TICKETS 9.  ASSESSMENTS and LAND CONFISCATION for unpaid assessments ( Nelson Property)